Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation early on Wednesday on suspicion of influence-peddling and other crimes in connection with a probe into alleged misdeeds in the financing of his 2007 election campaign, Fraance 24 reports.
His lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and a high-ranking judge, Gilbert Azibert, were also placed under formal investigation on Tuesday night.
“It’s a serious situation, the facts are serious,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said of the case on Wednesday.
Investigators are seeking to establish whether Sarkozy, with the help of his lawyer Herzog, attempted to pervert the course of justice by seeking to obtain inside information from a magistrate about a probe into alleged misdeeds in the financing of his 2007 election campaign.
They suspect Sarkozy, 59, was also tipped off that his mobile phone had been tapped by judges looking into allegations that his 2007 election campaign had been financed in part by former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Sarkozy has denied the claims that he received up to €50 million ($70 million at the time) from Gaddafi.